“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.” – Psalm 127: 3-4
I’ve always loved these verses. I loved it even more after I had sons. At the very least, it felt good to know that these two boys who occupy my life are rewards from God.
But as is our human wont, my children have taken the place of their Creator in my heart in so many ways. From the very start, perhaps because they were born so needy, so demanding, and so helpless, I’ve learned to respond to their cries first, to go to bed only after making sure they were safe and sound, and to wake up in the morning with them still in mind.
Up until now, my daily routine is dictated by them–making sure they get to school on time, that they get their homework done, they have food to eat, they get some sun, they have books to read, they have their favorite stuffed animals to cuddle with at night… The list goes on and on, and it’s enough to make me think parents with more children than I do must have special powers.
And when my sons come to me with their hearts in their eyes, my own melts into a puddle.
When they smile shyly at me, handing me some picture they drew or some paper sculpture I can’t identify but they swear is my likeness, I feel like I’ve been paid in full for all my sacrifices.
Or when their tremulous eyes hint at some childish catastrophe, I feel my protective hackles rising, coming to life with a roar.
My children–they arouse all sorts of emotions in me. These gifts from God, they leave me wondering at this exhilarating roller coaster I am on.
So for many years–in may instances–I’ve found it hard to see the Giver for the gifts. And except for short enlightening breaks in the past, it’s only now that I’m really starting to emerge from that fog I’ve been in.
I’m starting to see my children as I should.
For their sake, I’m realizing that I need to put them in their place, so they don’t grow up believing the world revolves around them. And they don’t end up as entitled children. Indeed, they grow up knowing themselves to be unworthy, but despite that reality, they are loved so much more than they can understand.
To be the best mother I could ever be, I need to help my children see God in every way I can.
I need to love them in such a way that they are able to grasp a bit of the Father’s love, translated to them through the medium of human love.
They need to know from the start that they are imperfect, they are prone to make mistakes, yes, they are sinful. And that they will fail, but when they do, they can always get up and start over. And discipline, which has taken a bad rap in this I-world we live in, is actually a good thing.
Some parents, consciously or unconsciously, see their children as perfect and treat them like expensive china.
I cringe inside, because I now understand that the world doesn’t give a hoot about our precious ones. These parents, should they continue on this trajectory, will either watch their children killing themselves trying to please the fickle crowd; set them up for a life of pain and rejection; or raise self-centered individuals who know only how to take and never give.
So if you’re a parent, think hard, and pray even harder.
Put God in his rightful place, and put your children right under his arm.
Tell your children that many times, they can’t, but God can.
Introduce them to the only One who will never fail them, and who already loves them despite the mistakes that lie ahead.
Prepare your children for the future by never shying away from what is right.
Equip them to be unafraid of hard work and to accept that service, no matter how lowly, is never beneath them.
And pray, never cease to pray, that they will take the path that leads to life.